Agenda - 15th March 2019

8:45 - 9:30 - Registration and tea, coffee and pastries

Innovative finance for water and natural capital

Environmental economists have a lot to learn about the world of investment and finance. We are delighted to that Jane Pilcher will join us to talk about how natural capital evidence was part of her decision to issue the first GBP Utility Public Bond in 2017, with a second issue in 2018.

At Anglian Water Group, Jane has responsibility for all finance and treasury activities of the group. She has prime responsibility for raising group debt, debt and bank investor relations, and liaison with the three rating agencies. She was also responsible for procuring the Second Party Opinion, writing the Company’s Green Bond Framework, as well as leading the extensive investor marketing to deliver a successful bond.


Chair: Kathryn Brown, Head of Adaptation, Committee on Climate Change – Adaptation
  • Managing the coast in a changing climate - Andrew Russell, CCC-A

Does England have a long term, sustainable plan to adapt to climate change on the coast? The Committee on Climate Change investigated long term coastal risks, the current costs and benefits of managing those risks, and the range of future options open to decision makers to better manage the risks

  • Land use: reducing emissions and preparing for climate change - Brendan Freeman, CCC-A

This study shows how the current approach to land use is not sustainable and cannot support future demand for settlements, to maintain current per capital food production, or to be prepared for the warming climate. A future land strategy that delivers the UK’s climate goals whilst balancing other pressures will require fundamental changes to how land is used.

  • Effectiveness of information and commitment in lowering meat consumption: evidence from a natural field experiment -  Sanchayan Banerjee, London School of Economics and Political Science

In this study, we look at the effect of first order information nudge and commitment devices in altering the dietary choices to be more pro-environment. The paper finds that 87 percent of the sample respond by sustainably lowering their meat consumption. The success of this nudge plus tool in making the consumers carbon conscious in their dietary choices provide a potential demand led solution in mitigating the pertinent problem of growing livestock emissions.

  • UK Housing: Fit for the future?  - Gemma Holmes, CCC-A

The way our homes are built and the amount of energy and water we use produce significant amount of greenhouse gases. Retrofit and design actions can make adaptation to climate change easier or lock us in difficult / costly to alter technologies. This research explores the areas of priority for climate change mitigation and adaption when improving the existing housing stock and building new homes.


Chair: Helen Davies, University of Southampton
  • Accounting for public preferences and co-benefits when developing new riparian buffer strip policies - Søren Bøye Olsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Riparian buffer strips generate benefits beyond improvements in water quality. Using Choice Experiments, the authors assess the value of societal co-benefits associated with physical features affected by buffer strip design and management. The results can be used in Cost-Benefit Analysis to identify geographically targeted and welfare-maximizing buffer strip policies.

  • Social capital and gain-loss asymmetry in discrete choice experiment - Hangjian Wu, University of Southampton

Gain-loss framing and its effects on behaviour has been well documented in experimental studies for monetary goods but less so for environmental goods. A discrete choice experiment of air quality preferences in China, authors find evidence of gain-loss asymmetry and negative correlation between social capital and loss aversion preference.

  • Application of wellbeing valuation to the PR19 investment planning in the water sector: impacts of flooding incidents - Helen Dunn, Simetrica

This presentation draws on research undertaken for Anglian Water to assess the impact of flooding and roadworks on the subjective wellbeing of their customers. Comparing wellbeing for individuals with and without incidents, the method was an effective means of understanding the value of these events, relying on information about the impact of actual incidents rather than hypothetical ones.

  • Willingness-to-pay for urban forest-based ecosystem services under conditions of uncertainty - Helen Davies, University of Southampton

A discrete choice experiment conducted in Southampton found citizen willingness to pay (WTP) for tree planting to be significant and positive. Furthermore, WTP was higher when respondents were aware of urban forest-based ecosystem services and the uncertainties surrounding their provision, than when these benefits were seemingly assured, but poorly understood.


11:20-11:40  Coffee Break 

Chair: Matthew Agarwala, Dept. of Geography & Environment, LSE & Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge
  • Climate change mitigation policies: distributional and allocative effects -  Zeina Hasna, University of Cambridge

A common policy to address increasing levels of carbon emissions and mitigate climate change is imposing a carbon tax. While much research has evolved concerning the optimal level of carbon taxation and its impact on total output, this paper addresses the distributional effects of carbon taxes using heterogenous methods.

  • Using choice experiment to value preferences for an increased use of nature based solutions for climate change adaptation in Prague - Tomas Badura, CzechGlobe, Czech Academy of Sciences; CSERGE, University of East Anglia

We explore opinions and preferences for characteristics of a climate change adaptation policy that focuses on use of Nature Based Solutions in Prague. Our sample support the NBS policy and prefer measures that are composed of more than one species, implemented evenly in public spaces and on public buildings.

  • Fair and incentive-compatible allocation mechanism for climate finance - Anna Stünzi, CER-ETH Center of Economic Research, Switzerland

Developed countries agreed to provide US$100 billion in climate finance from 2020-2025. Negotiations on post-2025 commitments will include a broader scope of parties. However, there is no guidance to determine a fair allocation of contributions. Here we develop a dynamic and incentive-compatible allocation mechanism reflecting the Paris principle to “ratchet-up” ambition.

  • Carbon accounting for sustainability measurement - Matthew Agarwala, LSE & Bennett Institute

GHGs degrade natural capital. But whose? Dominant accounting perspectives blame producing countries. Alternatives blame consumers. But this debate misses the point for sustainability accounting. Maintaining inclusive wealth means offsetting the climate damages that countries suffer, regardless of what damages they cause. It’s unfair. It’s more realistic. We account for it.


Chair: Allan Provins, eftec
  • Politicians and their promises in an uncertain world: evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment in India - Prasenjit Banerjee, University of Manchester

The successful implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation programs depends on the effort and honesty of politicians. Applying a laboratory experiment with local politicians in India, this study provides new insights to debates about the design of cost-effective mechanisms to prevent deficiencies in the application of climate policies.

  • Environmental policy and labour demand in China  - Yangsiyu Lu, University of Oxford

Whether environmental policy dampens or enhances employment is a long-standing debate. We study China’s policy to reduce SO2 emissions and find that the policy does not have a statistically significant effect on employment in dirty sectors but stimulates employment growth in clean sectors.

  • Monetary vs non-monetary payment vehicles in stated preference studies: a gender perspective -  Camilla Knudsen, University of Manchester

In a choice experiment about water infrastructure in rural India respondents were randomly assigned money or labour as numeraire. While at the aggregate level we find no impact of the numeraire on marginal utilities, we find evidence that women are willing to work more but pay less compared to men.

  • Preferences for equitable distributions in resource management - Ilda Dreoni, University of Southampton

The value that individuals attach to environmental resources is influenced by fairness preferences. The distributional outcomes of environmental policies influence individual’s willingness to pay, and those values, should be included in welfare analysis. Our participants’ choices of forest management policies reveal inequity aversion but also preferences for efficiency and maximin allocations.


13:00 – 14:00   Lunch

  • Using an integrative input-output model with marine natural capital to examine feedbacks and trade-offs - Emily Stebbings, Eleni Papathanasopoulou, Tara Hooper, Mel Austen, Xiaoyu Yan, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Environment & Sustainability Institute

  • Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme - ecosystem services valuation- Monica Barker, Carolann Simmonds, Emily Bye, Atkins, Environment Agency

  • Spatial optimisation of energy infrastructure considering ecosystem services - Gemma Delafield, Brett Day, Greg Smith, Andrew Lovett, University of Exeter

  • Mapping marine natural capital -  Mark Barnett, APEM Ltd

  • Minimising costs by integrating natural flood management and property-level protection measures - Angus Middleton, Viridian Logic

  • Behavioral response of fishers to hypoxia and the distributional impact on harvest -  Zinnia Mukherjee, Kathleen Segerson, Simmons University, USA

  • The ecosystem services of bivalve aquaculture -  Andrew van der Schatte Olivier, Lewis Le Vay, Michael Christie, James Wilson, Shelagh. K Malham, Laurence Jones

  • From Montreal Protocol to climate change mitigation -  Rohit Mistry, Adams Koshy, Sebastiana Hard, Natalya Kharadi, Dr. Mike Holland and Dr. Chris Tuppen, eftec


Chair: Laure Kuhfuss, University of St Andrews and James Hutton Institute
  • Can biodiversity offset markets prove to be a cost-effective conservation mechanism? - Katherine Needham, University of Glasgow

Lessons from tradable pollution permits can help us design biodiversity offset markets. This paper uses such lessons to produce an integrated ecological and economic model for land use across the Tees and Forth Estuaries.

  • Forest management and natural capital with an application to Mediterranean silvopastoral systems - Paola Ovando Pol, James Hutton Institute

An optimal economic decision modelling framework to evaluate private forest investment decision in Mediterranean agro-silvopastoral farms. The paper shows that decisions that are efficient from a private investor perspective, both now and in the future, can lead to losses in forest diversity, ecosystems services provision and natural capital values.

  • Balancing biological sustainability, economic value and social benefits in fisheries with commercial and recreational exploitation: the application of system dynamics modelling to the European sea bass - Angela Muench, Cefas

The European sea bass is important for commercial and recreational sectors but declining in stocks. A system model framework is used to explore the relative merits of different management strategies in terms biological sustainability and economic value created by recreational and commercial fisheries.

  • Preferences for coastal and marine conservation in Vietnam - Laure Kuhfuss, University of St Andrews and James Hutton Institute

This paper investigates individual preferences for marine and coastal conservation in Vietnam, with a focus on water quality, coral reefs conservation and marine plastic pollution. The paper also tests the applicability of stated preference methods when respondents’ social norms might affect their choices.


Chair: Nick Hanley, University of Glasgow
  • Biodiversity matters: assessing cultural value in lowland landscapes - Joe Morris, Cranfield University

Using a range of survey methods in rural landscapes in Wiltshire, England, we show that the way people perceive and interact with biodiversity influences the benefits they get from it.   Furthermore, we explore how the cultural benefits of biodiversity are best considered in a broad multi-functional, multi-resource context.

  • Demonstrating the benefits of low intensity upland farming in the Lake District: a natural capital accounting approach - Alison Holt, Natural Capital Solutions Ltd

Natural capital accounting revealed a 6.5 fold increase in natural capital asset value when an upland farming system was converted to a nature reserve and low-intensity cattle farm. This increased the provision of public benefits, as well as generating private value. This work can help inform future UK agricultural policy.

  • Reverse auctions as a tool for securing multiple environmental outcomes - Emma Claydon, Environment Agency

This project saw the development and trial of an online reverse auction tool aimed at funding sustainable land management measures and, thus, environmental outcomes. We are exploring whether the auction design leads to competitive and cost-efficient outcomes, as well as enhanced interaction with the outcome providers.

  • Collective participation in Payment for Ecosystem Service schemes - Nick Hanley, University of Glasgow

Conservation auctions are one solution to procuring biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service supply on private land. Because of the perceived benefits, the use of conservation auctions has been growing world-wide, especially in Australia, the US and China. Our paper considers whether allowing farmers (or other landowners) to bid as a group improves the performance of a conservation auction.


15:40–16:00 Coffee Break 

Chair: Harman Sagger, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • The economic value of heritage in England: a benefit transfer study - Ricky Lawton, Simetrica

Historic England and Natural England are exploring a ‘cultural capital’ approach using lessons learnt from the development of natural capital accounting framework. The objective is to ensure natural capital analyses take due account of built heritage.

  • Capturing benefits from the historic environment in natural capital accounting:  the current situation - Teresa Fenn, RPA Ltd

Historic buildings provide benefits for visitors and others alike. Government and funding organisations are increasingly trying to quantify these benefits to ensure funding can create greater social value. This study developed a bank of transferable cultural heritage values that can be used in the planning and decision process.

  • Valuing the fourth dimension: challenges and opportunities for valuing the past - Adala Leeson, Historic England

Natural capital accounting approaches often identify heritage benefits, but do not quantify or monetise them due to experimental valuation techniques or insufficient data. This study found that heritage assets contribute to many ecosystem services beyond the typical cultural services and suggests modifications to the natural capital accounting could better capture heritage benefits.


Chair: Ian Dickie, eftec
  • Fuelling the rebate debate: a study of low-income consumers in California’s clean vehicle rebate program - Douglas Bryan, London School of Economics and Political Sciences

Critics of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project suggested the policy mainly benefits wealthy, white Californians, questioning both the efficiency and equity of the subsidy. Changes to the policy in 2016 provided rebates for low-income households specifically, and this study tests whether the policy change has indeed impacted purchase of Electric Vehicles in the target group.

  • Boundary conditions of loss aversion – a natural field experiment – Christin Hoffmann, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus, Germany and Distance University, Switzerland

Political interventions related to taxes on fuel or motor vehicles have had limited success in reducing carbon emissions. The researchers experimented with the design of the incentive scheme used to motivate truck drivers to drive in a fuel-efficient manner, and the results are enlightening.

  • The use of the ecosystem services approach for appraising the landscape impacts of transport interventions - Ian Dickie, eftec

Transport has a significant impact on the environment, and increased pressure from decision makers has led to the inclusion of landscape impacts and mitigations in the appraisal process. The paper developed a methodology to value these impacts using an ecosystem services approach and makes recommendations for revisions to the Department of Transport’s WebTAG appraisal guidance.


17:00–19:30 Conference Reception